Refugees… one of the big words that have been moving Europe these past months. With crises and poverty surrounding a fair share of our wealthy free trade zone, for many leaving their homes, embarking on risky travels and seeking refuge elsewhere is the only option left. So when leaving everything behind in order to live a life worth living, for hopes of peace and security, is the only solution left “Refugees welcome" should really be everyone's slogan. However, many seem to chant “We don't want your kind over here!", and for some closing borders seems common sense. Good thing is, there are still many people who help with great effort; among them Berlin based skaters, Louis Taubert and Max Ritter.
They've come up with their “Welcome" board series, done through Max's Inpeddo brand, to raise money for Louis' Pigeon Plan charity. The two got Stefan Marx, Dave the Chimp, Lucas Beaufort and the Krid Collective to donate artwork.
We've caught up with them to learn more.
Text: Jan | Pics: Dennis Scholz
What's the idea behind the refugees welcome series?
Max: We had the idea to use inpeddo to help refugee kids. I plainly contacted some of my favourite artists and was overwhelmed when they responded immediately. We had never worked with Stefan Marx, Dave the Chimp or Lucas Beaufort before, but everyone and the Krid Collective agreed to donate their work straight away. Some of the originals were even auctioned to raise more money. The producing MDCN dist. passed on their margin, Inpeddo is making no money, all profits get passed on. Next I thought about a good way to make best use of the money raised, something skaters could relate to. Knowing Loius the Pigeon Plan was a logical step. Just giving it to a random charity seemed too vague.
Louis: For sure there are many charity projects out there that do amazing work – Skatistan to name just one…
What do you do with the Pigeon Plan? How can people support you besides just buying these boards?
M: Well, buying the boards is a good start to support the initiative.
L: The Pigeon Plan is something like the DIY of charity. We use all donations to ship donated skate product, set up workshops, store equipment and teach other locals how to start-up their own workshops, help them to be proactive. Every one at Pigeon Plan works voluntarily. I try to rather be out there with the kids using what we get than be sat behind a computer filling forms and applying for larger funds. I think skaters especially can relate to this approach.
Where can people get the Welcome Series boards?
How do you go about doing your workshops? How do you “teach" skateboarding?
L: Well, I try to keep with the basics: No mall grabs, no pushing mongo… and then I mainly try to show what a skateboard can be used for and inspire. I don't want to train or coach anyone. We try to offer a quick break from everyday's struggle, we would like to give back a bit of what we love so dearly.
How are the kids coming to your workshops? Do you think we'll be seeing some of them again in the long run?
L: You really can't say. But in the end skateboarding cannot be forced on anyone. To a certain extent you have to find it yourself. What we really would need more of are female teachers to get more girls involved and stoked on skating. Erica from Skatistan is helping us out here in Berlin but more girls at the other locations would be great.
…well, where does this leave us? I guess, if you're out there looking for a new plank, you're into meaningful graphics and somewhat sensitive to what's going on around you, a look at Inpeddo x Pigeon Plan's Welcome Series would be something to consider; donation receipt on top!